Monday, February 23, 2015

A Day with Lyric Kinard

Oh, my! Such fun. Lyric is a terrific teacher and an inspiring artist. She seems to have super-woman energy.

First we played and learned a number of techniques, some I had tried before, some that were new to me. We made our own stamps and stamped on cheap white cotton fabric. We also used some fabulous screens designed by Lyric - some with paint and some with foil.

Journal cover front with cabochon

Journal back with some embroidery

I have very little experience with foil, so now I want to practice more and really learn how to exploit it.

We also did photo transfer (fugitive media). This was brand new to me and so I'm really anxious to practice that technique.

And then the beading. I was pretty sure I loved beading. Now I'm certain. I am particularly delighted with her technique for cabochon beaded bezels.

Our kits were for making small journal covers. The kits included some hand-dyed cotton and coordinating beads and a cabochon to match. Such a quick and satisfying project. I was able to finish mine the very next day.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Louise Cutting named this pattern A New Dimension, AND. For me, it is a finally-finished long-term project. I chose View B for its simple lines allowing me to use the Mary Ray quilting technique.

There are 4 main pieces - center fronts, center back, side front, side back - as the sleeves are cut-on. I guess there are five pieces if you count the collar. I did not use any facings because of the quilting technique. And I omitted the pockets. I kind-of wish I had kept the pockets.

I think of Mary Ray's quilted clothing technique as an approach to single-layer tailoring. I've used it on a single layer of wool for a light weight jacket, as well as for quilted garments like this.

This fabric is a fairly beefy wool from Sawyer Brook fabrics. This may be the heaviest fabric I've ever handled. It was lovely to cut, press and sew. It is hard to beat a quality wool for a smooth sewing experience.

First I rough-cut each pattern piece in the wool, cotton flannel, and Bemberg ambiance. The exceptions are the front pieces and the collar. For those I used a pretty brown silk shantung in place of the Bemberg lining fabric, because they show more. 

Then I quilted the three layers together in vertical lines about an inch apart using my trusty walking foot. Next I steam-pressed each piece into submission. The extensive quilting distorted the larger pieces with the cut-on sleeves quite a bit, so I was glad I left some margin for re-cutting each piece.

Initially I thought I would go with Hong Kong seam finishes but then I decided that I did not want any of this rough (but beautiful) wool anywhere near my skin. So I did something quite cludge-y.

I sewed bias strips of the lining fabric to one side of each seam. Then I pressed the seam allowance open and flat. Finally I folded the bias strips back over the exposed seams (inside the jacket) and slip-stitched the bias strip over the seam, completely covering each seam. This caused the machine stitched side to pop up a bit, so I went back and slip-stitched that down too.

Sometimes I go down a rabbit hole with a project. If I had planned everything, I probably would have abandoned the project and made another tee shirt. Or maybe a quilt.

I soldiered on, oblivious to the number of hours going into this jacket. Finally I finished all the edges (sleeve hems, jacket hem, front edges, collar edge) with a bias strip of the silk shantung. That was quite a pleasure after those crazy covered interior seams.

This is why I could never make a living sewing for others. I would starve to death. I do admire those who can parlay sewing into a career.

I am happy with this coat. Almost.

Now I'm wondering if the buttons are spaced badly. Because I used covered snaps, instead of button holes, I do have the option of moving them around. Someday. What do you think? Move the buttons closer together? Buy more buttons?

Actually I'm ready to wear this now. It was 25 degrees Fahrenheit today, so just in time. And I bought these leather gloves more than a year ago while on vacation in Italy. They really needed a proper jacket.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Covered snaps

Sometimes it's the little things that make me happy. 

Like covering 3/4 inch snaps for my WIP quilted coat. 

A few weeks ago I covered 1/2 inch snaps for a glasses case and a small clutch. I used cotton batik. I was happy with how easy it was as well as the result. 

This quilted coat is definitely not a candidate for machined button holes and I'm traveling anyway. So covered snaps with decorative buttons should work. I hope. 

As long as they don't ravel or stress the loose weave wool, it should be successful. If that fails then there are lots of other options. But today I love covered snaps. 

I started by cutting a rough circle from the brown silk in the facing, collar, and binding. It's large enough to apply a hand gathering stitch and small enough to prevent extra bulk forming under the snap. 

But the silk was too dense. The parts wouldn't even snap together with a single layer of silk between them. I've learned that's the first thing to check. 

The bemberg ambiance lining fabric made it easier to create an opening for the male part. And they snapped to a piece of it with no problem. 

I gathered each snap part inside the lining circle like a yo-yo. Then I stitched it on. At first I couldn't poke the male part thru. 

And I didn't bother with a puncture in the female half.

As soon as I snapped the two parts together, voila, punctures in each side!

Now for the pretty decorative 1.25 inch wooden buttons from Gail K. They have so many lovely buttons. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Super Fast Sewing with Odette

And super satisfying. Especially since I've been hard at work sewing (and unsewing), quilting (and unquilting) and even a bit of misplaced serging (and unserging) that simply did not help anything. That longer project is getting close but I needed a quick fix.

Just finished a new t-shirt and I think it's going to be a good one.

Though I no longer receive Sewing Workshop patterns on auto-ship, I did order their newest t-shirt pattern, Odette and Ivy. I like both shirts and they are very different, so it really is like two patterns for the price of one. Still not cheap, of course, but they are quite interesting.

It arrived a while back and sat on a surface in my workroom, beckoning me. Once I saw Terri's versions on Artisan's Guild and then more on Flickr, I finally cut out the Odette view and made it. And talk about a quick fix.

Great inspirations, BTW, Terri. Thanks!

It took longer to prepare the pattern and cut it out that it did to construct it. All pieces except the sleeves are cut out in a single layer.

This is a wearable muslin as I made it in a very inexpensive ponte, one of those with polyester in it. I know it will pill soon and be good for wearing while I clean toilets. Just in case I need such a shirt.

But in the meantime, it's pretty cool for such a quick sew. I like the way it includes one conventional bust dart and another incorporated into an asymmetrical seam. The peplum is pretty cute too.

Ponte is a fairly stable knit so it is close-fitting. Not too much I hope. If I go with a nicer ponte on a future version I may let out the seams a bit to eliminate the negative ease. Negative ease does me no favors. For more stretchy knits, this size M should be just right.

I think the Ivy view will be interesting too with its set-in sleeves, as opposed to the raglan sleeves in this Odette.

Ivy - looks better in real versions than in this line drawing, I think, especially in a drapey knit.

So if this pattern is sitting in your sewing area, beckoning you, go ahead. Try it. You'll like it.

And if you've already made it, I'd love to see your version too.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Now unquilting

I am sewing in reverse. Again. Unsewing, unquilting, and unserging. 

I realized my error when I tried to press the seams open. It looks worse in reality. The picture does not do justice to my goof. I flipped the back piece. Too little fabric to recut. 

Instruments at the ready. 

Deconstruction in process. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Little Leather

Mary Ray introduced me to sewing leather a year or so ago. And I wanted to make something leather after that, but I kept allowing other projects to intervene. In the meantime I acquired two thrifted leather skirts, one in a cinnamon suede and another in a mustard suede. I took them apart but then could not decide what to do.

Then I started folding it and playing with it. And it naturally became a medium-sized clutch after I resewed the waist darts (why did I unsew those darts???):

The wrist strap and loop came from the kick pleat facing.  For lining, I had left over quilted fabric from an art quilt that had to be deconstructed. 

Unfortunately, after I finished lining it, I found that it was impossible to top-stitch around the edges, as I had hoped. My trusty Bernina made a terrible noise trying to penetrate that bulk on the edge. After trying several different types of needles, I decided to leave it alone.

Some parts of this were so simple.  The leather is thin and easy to cut. Because I had so little invested, I even did some resewing which is normally a bad idea with leather. I was just careful to follow previous lines of stitching and hope for the best.

Another simple part was inserting the magnetic clasp. A little kitchen knife plus some pliers made it quick and sturdy. I did fuse some interfacing over the back sides before completing the lining.

The suede was not as easy to sew as I had hoped. I used a Teflon foot which helped a lot, but I found that the suede wanted to drag on the feed-dogs. This was mostly easy to avoid by keeping the leather part of any seam under the foot, and the fabric part on the feed-dogs. I wonder if smooth leather would create the same problem?

It feels very yummy. 

I'm not sure what I'll do with the mustard suede skirt. Maybe a tote? I cannot wear mustard close to my face but I love it, so it will become something.

So what are your experiences with sewing leather?